If you have been following our not-so-humble blog, you know we like George Mann. So when we got our paws on his GHOSTS IN MANHATTAN, published by Pyr, we knew we were in for a treat.
GHOSTS is set in America during the roaring 20's, but with a Steampunk bent, and as if that isn't cool enough, George Mann inserts enough Urban Fantasy elements to create a sweet mesh of the two genres. Actually, the genre almost does a complete swap in the last third of the book. It was a little jarring, but the pace of the book swept us along, without giving us time to let the change bother us.
Let us say, right up front, this book won't be for everyone. The violence is just brutal. The opening scene was quite violent even for us, and we love a good action scene. The titular character uses a flechette cannon and shreds bad guy's heads. There is plenty of swearing and talk about sex. One of our close friends, read the opening chapter and didn't finish it. He heard that Nick liked the book, and said, "Yeah, that sounds about right." Your sensibilities will largely determine whether you like this book. If you have to ask yourself whether you will or not, you will probably be offended.
However...the action scenes were SO awesome. They were very clear, immediate, and visceral. There wasn't an action scene to be found that didn't make us wonder, just for a minute, exactly how the Ghost would be maimed or crippled, and yes, he was injured PLENTY of times. Also, to Mann's credit, there wasn't any indication of "Butcher syndrome" where the protagonists were exhausted, injured, and spent, and somehow managed to reach inside and find some well of energy left. We hate that. When the characters in GHOST were presented with a challenge, they had to actually meet it. No Deus Ex here folks! Woohoo!
Aside from the pacing and strong writing, if we were to pick out a strength of the novel, it would be Mann's ability to make these characters all believable and likable. All except the love interest of the protagonist. She remains largely a mystery, with a fairly shallow characterization until the end. But by then we didn't care quite as much about her as we should have. The rest of them are Ah-Mazing, though. Gabriel is the perfect jaded playboy; the Ghost is menacing, dangerous, yet 'heroic'; Donovan, while having a slightly cliche cop story, was enjoyable the whole time. The villain(s) were just as intriguing. Bravo, Mann!
One of the cool things that was done in the book was the attempt to keep us guessing at the true identity of the Ghost. We both actually wished this aspect had been pressed harder. It was obvious right from the start who he was, but there were constant moments of "Wait...is he really...or is he someone else...?" We could have done with more of those.
As soon as Steve finished the book he called Nick (who luckily got to read the book first). As if the website wasn't proof enough that we are linked at the brain, we both said at just about the same moment, "Could have been 150 pages longer." We really wish this was true. The fast pace works both for and against the book. Ever eaten a meal so fast you barely got to taste it? That's a little bit how the book felt. It was too fast and too short, with extremely likable and interesting characters, that ALL deserved a lot more screen time than they were given. The book didn't just leave us room for dessert, but another course when we were finished. That's a little annoying.
GHOSTS OF MANHATTAN is a bit cliche-ridden, quick, a little on the light side of plot, a bit heavy-handed at times, but is just plain fun. It hurls the Steampunk and Superhero genres at each other with full force, and somewhere in between the two Urban Fantasy/Horror gets caught in the Melee. We like the recipe that was created here. A lot. We want more, and are looking forward to the next installment. Is it the best book you will read this year? Not even close, but it is completely entertaining.
Recommended Age: 18 and up.
Language Ayep. Rated-R here.
Violence: Oh wow, yes. The first chapter is a very good indication of what the rest of the book contains. In said chapter bad guys kept disintegrated by flechettes, burned and boiled by jetpacks, and a lady gets stabbed. It was...an interesting choice to start the book with that much graphic violence.
Sex: A few acts committed and mentioned, nothing graphic or explicitly shown.
Dear Jim Butcher: we apologize for doubting you. Seriously.
You all may remember last year when we reviewed TURN COAT. In short, we were pissed. It just wasn't that good. In fact it was one of the books we hated most last year. We had decided to swear off reading Butcher forever. Steve even sold his Dresden Files collection. It was a sad day. Luckily that anger faded, and we decided that we should read Butcher's latest Dresden Files novel, CHANGES.
When we found out the title of this book, Nick said to Steve, "Changes? There damn well better be." Really, the title was the epitome of what we wanted in the series. Progression from characters and story. To be honest, we were preparing to hate this newest novel. How could Butcher possible fix all the problems he had in TURN COAT. Could he reset the effects of the reset caused by the magic reset button from book eleven? Before you think about that too hard, we'll just tell you simply:
CHANGES was awesome.
The plot revolves around Harry discovering (on line one of page one--how's that for immediate conflict?) that he has a daughter, and that she has been abducted by the Red Court Vampires (while it creates cool conflict right off the bat, we couldn't help but feel this 11th hour revelation was pretty hokey). They plan to sacrifice her. In a nutshell, this is Jim Butcher writing MAN ON FIRE. It is dark. It is violent. It is fantastic.
Now, when we say we wanted Butcher to change everything, we didn't really mean everything. Butcher is one of the best at writing humor. His dialogue is known for being snappy, witty, and natural. His action is always described well. These things haven't changed, and in some respects have improved. There is a moment in the middle of the book when Sanya, (a Knight of the Cross for those of you who didn't remember) asks Harry if he "hit that," and if it was "phat." This was when Steve realized Butcher and Harry Dresden were back.
As far as plot progression and pacing, we don't think it could have been done much better. From the first line, to the INSANE ending and last line on the last page, this book threatened to break pacing records. It just didn't let up. Ever. There was two books work of awesomeness in this one 440 page novel.
Now, not everything was perfect. Thomas' progression still bothers us. It still feels like he has regressed as a character, while at the same time making us feel at times that the events from TURN COAT didn't matter so much. Murphy is also still in a state of stagnation--especially because we get a very real glimpse of her potential, which she summarily dismisses to return to the status quo. But everything else?
We are exposed to Harry Dresden doing things that we thought (and even he thought) he would never do. CHANGES deals very heavily with the theme, "What is going too far, when is it worth it/called for, and what are the consequences of it?" So far the morality tones in the Dresden Files have been fairly simply, relegated to the Council rules, Harry's use of Soulfire or Hellfire, and other similar ideas, that just weren't that deep. CHANGES...well...changes that.
CHANGES is one of the best Dresden Files novels. It is right up there with books 7-9. If you had been putting off reading the series, you really should start now. If you were waiting for confirmation that Butcher was back in form, after reading our review of his last book, now you have it.
We do, however, still have a gripe that he wants to write 11 or 12 more books in the series. At one a year...the end is a long time coming. The Dresden Files are Butcher's bread and butter and we worry that he is using the series as a cash cow to fill his retirement fund. We could just be cynical though, and after reading CHANGES, we are OK with helping Butcher fill that bank account.
Recommended Age: 16 and up.
Language: It's on par with the rest of the series.
Violence: A little more this time. We used a MAN ON FIRE reference for a reason.
Sex: On par with the rest of the series.
Jim Butcher's website:
At this point, even the most rabid zombie fiction fan has to be thinking, "Okay....seriously...I'm getting kind of tired of all the zombie stuff..." We are included in that group. Yes, even Steve. So when we picked up FEED, by Mira Grant, we began reading with trepidation and skepticism. After all, no matter how much you eat a food you love (this is not in reference to the dietary habits of zombies), if it is a course often served, you will get tired of it. This is how we approached FEED. Not very lucky for poor Mira, who could have, easily, been subject to one of our hate reviews.
Lucky for her, and for you, and for us, FEED isn't just a flavor of the month (Or rather, flavor of the year. Seriously. It's time to move on to something else. Give zombies a break. Well...first give Vampires a break, shortly followed by a brief respite for the zombies. Brief, because they ARE undead after all. Is this the longest parenthetical you've ever read? Shall we try for a record? No. You're already going to have to go back to remember what this sentence started as.), it is a pretty unique take on zombie lore.
OK, confession. Unique is a somewhat of a misnomer, because the zombies do adhere to just about every Romero trope. In fact Grant references Romero so much, even two of the main characters are named after George Romero, that we wonder just how many times Grant was watching the Romero's movies while writing this book.
The plot centers around three young blogging news-people, Georgia, Shaun, and Buffy (please note the name-relations to other slayers of the dead). They are, respectively, the hard-line journalist, devil-may-care sensationalist (think Bear Grylls, only with zombies), and the technophile/attention seeker. These bloggers get chosen to be a part of the campaign entourage for a Presidential candidate, Senator Ryman. Things basically devolve into the zombie nom-nom-nom-fest that is necessary. However, while Kellis-Amberlee (the reanimatory virus) and zombies are the basis of the story, they aren't the focus. Which was refreshing. The focus of the book is the campaign for election and the uncovering of a conspiracy.
Not only was the delivery and focus of a zombie story fresh, but the setting was pretty rad. Everyone in the world is infected with KA, but in a 'dormant' state. When certain circumstances are met the virus goes live and zombifies its host. This gives us an interesting way of life where constant blood testing is necessary. Quarantines, hazard levels, safe zones, and danger zones are all commonplace. In fact the blood testing is so common (and a point is made about how they are painful on purpose, because loss of pain sensation is a sign of virus amplification) that we wondered why the main characters fingers and hands weren't hamburger from all the abuse they take.
The characters are all very likable, except for Georgia, who is the 1st person PoV character for the book. Georgia is aloof, and not personable at all. Being inside her head only makes this more noticeable. It distances the reader from her, which is a bummer. There were times when we wondered what it may have been like to have the 1st Person narrative from one of the other characters.
While just about everything is fresh, well-written, and fun, the story falls apart the minute Grant actually gives us a glimpse of what the main character's blogs look like. We can understand Buffy's being bad, it's supposed to be kind of trashy. We can even understand Shaun's entries being somewhat sensationalist. But Georgia, who in her first blog entry we see talks about keeping opinion out of it, is just not believable as the "only the facts ma'am" kind of reporter she touts herself to be. The premise that these three are chosen out of so many to follow a presidential candidate and give the news about it is beyond ridiculous. We had an easier time believing that, should we put the book down, open the drapes to our front yards, and have a look around, there would be real, live (Or is that real dead? Real undead?) zombies out there, than believing these three kids have garnered the kind of attention depicted. Grant makes an issue of how these three bloggers have achieved readership that succeeds porn and pirating sites. With the bland blog entries we are shown, we can't believe that.
Besides. It's common knowledge that when (note: not if) bloggers are chosen after a zombie apocalypse (it WILL happen), the first bloggers chosen will be us.
"Oh quite being such sticklers about belief. You're reading a zombie book." You say? Well it is common knowledge that zombies do exist. What are you talking about, 'belief'? Steve is going to send zombie ninjas after you, if you don't wise up. Anyway...onward...We talk about believing these characters, because we have already suspended belief so much to accept this post-zombie-apocalyptic setting. Though, to Mira Grant's credit, it didn't take THAT much suspension to believe it, her setting was that well crafted.
FEED was a fun, and unique, ride through the flavor of the year. If we could choose a zombie book to recommend as a final foray into the zombie tropes, it would be FEED. We enjoyed it immensely, despite the failed blog entries. We see why Grant wrote and included them, we just didn't like them. It was such a small gripe when compared to just how fun the rest of the book was though, that FEED is firmly entrenched in the Books We Like category.
Recommended Age: 18 and up. Its pretty gruesome at times, and there is adult content. But mainly, the political aspect may bore younger readers.
Language: Yep. All cuss words. It isn't ridiculously prevalent though.
Violence: No more dumb questions... It's a zombie book.
Sex: A few jokes here and there. Nothing actually ever happens though.
The Hype Machine strikes again.
In case you didn't notice, the Hugo Award Finalists were announced just a bit ago. Among the contenders was listed WINDUP GIRL, by Paolo Bacigalupi. There has been all sorts of hype about this novel. People are heralding it as a masterpiece, or as a frightening look into our future. And it's true, on the surface the ideas that make up the setting seem pretty outstanding.
WINDUP GIRL takes place in a future Bangkok in a post-oil era. Genehacking and generipping have helped create some deadly virus mutations that kill people, animals, and plants alike. It is in this future that the most valuable commodities to the masses are calories. Every action in this novel is weighed against its energy cost versus its energy output. One of the main PoVs, Anderson, is undercover in Bangkok to discover new food sources that his company can exploit. Emiko is the Windup Girl, an artificially engineered person whom people (and religion) in general despise. As we mentioned, the setting seems pretty interesting. Unfortunately we need more than setting to enjoy the novel.
WINDUP GIRL begins without a hook. The pacing is extremely slow. It took a good 100 pages for our interest to be pulled in--the novel is only 350 pages long. The most frustrating thing about it? At times we couldn't put our finger on what we didn't like. It wasn't clear. You see, we like to discuss the books we are reading. What we like. What we hate. We soon realized that it was this very issue of clarity that was hurting the novel, and our ability to get sucked into the story.
Bacigalupi spends a lot of time talking about this future he has envisioned. Yet for all the pages dedicated to showing us the setting, none of it is clear. We get that the climate is hot, and the town is dirty. We are told about the animosity that different factions in the city hold for each other. But we don't really FEEL what the city is like. There is a revolution brewing in Bacigalupi's story, but we can't seem to care much about it. It is emotionless.
The characters are much the same. Instead of focusing on how the Emiko (you know, the title character of the story supposedly) is unique, and showing her grow, we are treated to scene after scene of her being used and abused as a sex toy. And really, that is almost the entirety of her "screen time." Anderson doesn't seem to care about anything, and assumes everything will work itself out. If he doesn't care, why should we? Jaidee is flat, and his lauded "never give up" and "fight on" attitude never really fully reaches maturity.
As mentioned before, the pacing is slow. People stand around and reminisce over a past that is never clearly realized for the reader. Yet, contrary to the pacing, the novel is actually a quick read. Maybe this was a result of hoping that something awesome would come in and completely change our view of the story. Bacigalupi writes well, but this particular story isn't told well. There is a difference. We've also read around that people who actually understand the whole science thing (aka not us), will be put off by the science in this SF novel. But we can't lend out opinions to this much. Some of it seemed hinky, but we aren't engineers.
Does this novel deserve the Hugo? We don't think so. Much like BONESHAKER, we feel like WINDUP GIRL had loads of potential, but fell far short of reaching it. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't good either. All that being said, we were a bit reminded of Ian McDonald's RIVER OF GODS and BRASYL, which we had a hard time getting in to. Perhaps we just aren't the right crowd for these types of novels, but if you like one, you may like the other.
Lastly, we don't speak Thai. At all. There quite a few times when even the context of the sentence couldn't help us figure out what the heck people were saying. A simple three-page glossary would have done wonders.
Recommended Age: 18 and up.
Language: Tons. One character's name is the F-word.
Violence: Quite a bit, but it isn't ever very clear.
Sex: Uh, yeah. It is almost always violent, brutal, a shock-oriented. Hence the 18 and up recommendation.
Being the diligent readers that we are, we often browse through the import selection of various websites (imports to the US that is). After all, it is usually only a matter of time before the book get published here. But, every now-and-again, we get a tad impatient (We want books NAO!). This was the case with Chris Wooding's RETRIBUTION FALLS.
It's hard to say what genre RETRIBUTION FALLS, uh, falls under. It is SF, with some magic, and religion, and a retro-futuristic world, airships, pirates, gun-fights, sword-fights, and dog fights. It is truly a mix of everything. Usually, this is a recipe for disaster. Wooding, on the contrary, makes it dang-near perfect.
How about we walk you through just the first few chapters. We start with an escape from a hostage situation, then a gun-battle on some airship docks, and then an airship/fighter-plane-thing dog fight sequence. This is in the first 50 pages. Yeah. Full of win.
RETRIBUTION FALLS tells the story of Frey, the caption of the Ketty Jay, an airship. As with most pirate-ish novels, Frey and his crew are small-time smugglers and pirates--a glorified black market delivery crew. You could probably guess that when they take a job that should give them an easy paycheck, things go absurdly bad. Airships explode, people die, and the crew of the Ketty Jay is framed for it. A standard plot, more or less. The execution of it is what rocked our worlds.
Do you remember the first time you saw Han Solo? His devil-may-care attitude, blowing the crap out of Greedo (Han shot FIRST!), and introducing the whiny Luke to the Millennium Falcon really sold us on how awesome Han was. This is very similar. Frey is our story's Han Solo, and the Ketty Jay is very much the Millennium Falcon. He has a full complement of crew on board, and they all are (obviously) running from something. We have a fighter pilot, a doctor, a daemonist (summons daemons and can attach them to things to enchant them), a golem (courtesy of the daemonist), and many more. Every character has a place, and they all either grow tremendously over the course of the novel, or they suffer extreme personal consequences due to the events that transpire. We loved every single character--a rarity for us.
The pacing, true to an adventure-like novel, was crazy fast the entire time. Action scenes bleed into more action scenes, with political intrigue and humor tying them together. Joe Abercrombie has a cover quote on the front cover, and really that should tell you all your need to know about the action and pacing. But don't mistake this for a balls-out, action-only popcorn read. There is some serious political and religious foundation building going on here. There are some very powerful character moments as well.
RETRIBUTION FALLS is the best adventure story we have read in years. Go read it, and when you finish, check your reflection in a mirror. You are bound to see a huge smile on your face. Chris Wooding has given us a series worth following. A series, you ask? Oh yes, a wonder series of retro-SF adventure pirate novels (you KNOW that sounds effing awesome). The sequel comes out shortly in the UK. We suggest you go import book 1, and preorder book 2, BLACK LUNG CAPTAIN.
Recommended Age: 16 and up.
Language: There is some, and every so-often it gets strong, but nothing you don't expect from smugglers/pirates.
Violence: Oh yes, and it is in equal measures amazing, and heart-breaking. The action is awesomely executed from top to bottom.
Sex: Innuendo in action and dialogue. Nothing shown.
Chris Wooding's website--he is awesome, go tell him so:
Robert McCammon is probably best known for his Horror novels. Some of his best work, however, is in the genre of Historical Fiction. Hopefully you have read his two previous novels involving the character Matthew Corbett, SPEAKS THE NIGHTBIRD and THE QUEEN OF BEDLAM. If not, you have been missing out. The novels take place 1699 (and progress over the following years) in colonial America. McCammon's newest Matthew Corbett novel, MISTER SLAUGHTER (such a great title), was released earlier this year by Subterranean Press.
MISTER SLAUGHTER, at its core, is a manhunt story...a very good manhunt story. Our PoV, Corbett, is an understudy problem-solver to Hudson Greathouse. They are given a job of escorting a prisoner, Tyranthus Slaughter, to a boat bound for England where Slaughter will stand trial for several murders. It should come as no surprise that Slaughter escapes, and a manhunt ensues. The reasons for the escape are better left to your reading discovery.
There is a misconception that Historical Fiction must be slow-paced, and riddled with pages upon pages of historical exposition. This is probably why we mostly avoid the genre. McCammon doesn't do this. To some, this will come as a welcome relief (yup, we include ourselves in this camp). To others, however, the lack of a history lesson will turn them off (weirdos). McCammon admits that his novels aren't 100% historically accurate, and that he blends several decades of colonial progress into just a few years. He does it to tell a more compelling story, and to keep the pacing at full-throttle.
Now, it should be noted that MISTER SLAUGHTER is about half the size of each of the two previous novels in the series. This does two things. First, it prevents the novel from getting bogged down in historical data. Secondly, it narrows the focus of the novel. MISTER SLAUGHTER trims out all the filler material that sometimes bogged down the prior entries, and focuses on the character growth of Corbett. We see a dramatic shift in his attitude, and he is set up for some potentially fantastic future stories.
There is some pretty violent scenes in this novel, true to McCammon's horror roots. They often come out of nowhere, and are sufficiently shocking and brutal, yet amazingly written, and perfectly in character for those performing the acts. The first quarter of the book deals with Corbett dealing with the after effects of the prior novel, and the attitude that they have given him. The rest of the novel deals with the manhunt of Slaughter. Towards the end of the novel, a large set of events transpire that link this novel to the events and history of the prior volumes, and set us up for awesome future novels.
Now, we know what you are thinking. Can you read this novel without picking up the large prior novels? Absolutely. We certainly recommend you read the other two, as they are fantastic reads, but McCammon has a way of clearly and succinctly describing events of the prior novels so that the reader doesn't feel lost. It also doesn't hurt that this is a fairly stand-alone story. If you go this route, you'll probably want to go buy the other two novels as soon as you finish this one.
Did we have any issues? Of course. A part nearing the final pages of the novel felt very convenient/coincidental. There were sections where it felt just a bit too streamlined. There are anachronisms. The first quarter of the novel doesn't seem like it meshes 100% with the remainder of the novel (with the previous novels, yes, but not the current one). But really, these are pretty minor complaints, and didn't take away any significant enjoyment.
MISTER SLAUGHTER is a streamlined (clocks in at around 450 pages--that really is streamlined for McCammon) adventure/manhunt story in a historical setting. We were reminded of Thomas Harris' Hannibal Lector stories, and a little Sweeney Todd, which should give you a fairly good idea about the tone and pacing of McCammon's latest. You should hop over to Subterranean Press and buy a copy--they are selling MISTER SLAUGHTER at the normal hardback price. With it being such a great read, not to mention the top-notch quality of printing and art that Sub. Press puts out, its $25 is well worth the price.
Recommended Age: 17 and up.
Language: Yeah there is some, and when it happens it can be pretty strong. You may cry, "anachronisms!" but you should just deal with it and enjoy the face-paced story.
Violence: Yeah. Lots. And it can be pretty brutal. But it is very well written.
Sex: Some sexual dialogue, as well as a violent scene. Not for kiddies.
Robert McCammon's Website:
Steampunk. You can hardly go wrong with it. It's that genre that is filled with airships, goggles and adventure. With the novel BONESHAKER, Cherie Priest tries her hand at the steampunk genre.
We had heard a lot about this novel. Authors, editors, and readers everywhere called it amazing. We had heard it called one of the best steampunk novels ever written. Do you see where this is going? Yeah. We were let down. WAY down.
We'll start with the premise. BONESHAKER takes place in Seattle during and after the gold rush in the Klondike. It is an interesting period in US history, and a great place to introduce a steampunk technology. The idea here is that a contest was held to see who could invent a machine that could easily tunnel through the snow, ice, and rock to excavate the gold. Leviticus Blue, living in Seattle, invents such a machine--the Boneshaker. The first time the machine is turned on, however, it destroys nearly the entire town. In the aftermath of the destruction, the deep diggings the Boneshaker uncover a gas that essentially turns people into zombies. Seattle is walled off, and chapter one starts 15 years after the described events. Out main characters are Briar and Zeke Wilkes, the wife and son of Leviticus Blue. It is a cool mesh of ideas in theory, but the execution was lacking in nearly every aspect.
What let us down with this novel? Well, nothing was really developed. There were times where we felt like we were reading an outline of ideas rather than a fully developed story. Think about it. We have all the steampunk tropes; adventure, airships, clockwork and gear based machinery, and goggles (you can't have steampunk without goggles). We have some cool alternate history that is set during the gold rush and the Civil War. We have zombies, Native Americans, and sky pirates. The list goes on. Yet the book is a short 400 pages. There just wasn't enough time to give any depth to the awesome mesh of ideas. By not having too many interesting, but shallowly described ideas yelling for our attention, we found it difficult to connect with anything. BONESHAKER may have benefited from being longer, and more detailed.
The characters in the novel should have been interesting, but instead left us feeling rather "meh." Zeke runs into the walled city of Seattle to find proof that his father and grandfather were good people. Briar follows him. The worry they feel, and their relationship should have drawn us to the main PoVs. Instead, their relationship was devoid of the details that normally would draw us to them. We just couldn't make ourselves care about them. The side characters felt mostly like cardboard cut-outs that were just there for scenery. The sky pirates/smugglers are lame, and the Native American Princess felt tacked on and random. In short, the characters were impossible to connect with, and were boring. They were random bits of filler that did more harm than good.
Now, in a steampunk novel, some shortcomings can be overlooked if the adventure aspect or the technological aspect of the novel is executed well. Neither was the case in BONESHAKER. The action was so muddled, that at times it took a few re-reads of the pages just to determine what was actually happening. The steampunk technology? There really wasn't any. Really, it was all limited to people wearing gas masks. There are very brief mentions and showings of airships, a chick has a mechanical arm, and the breathing systems people use get fancy at times. That's it. No clockwork robots. The actual Boneshaker machine is never shown in action. In fact, the novel is barely steampunk at all. The zombies? Shown maybe three times, and they don't manage to lend any sort of menace or scare to the story. Again, filler.
With all the bad, surely there must be something good, right? Well yeah. The moments between muddled action sequences are well written, if lacking in detail. The idea of how Seattle became a walled-in disaster was excellently done. The book itself is awesome looking. The cover is great, and the ink color of the text is a brownish color that perfectly fit the time-frame of the story.
A lot of people liked BONESHAKER. A lot of people will pick up this book and love it. We, however, just felt is was mediocre. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't anywhere close to the awesomeness that were were led to believe. Maybe that was part of why we were so underwhelmed.
If you are a die-hard reader of steampunk, then you could probably find something here to like, but it won't live up to the other novels of the same genre that you have already read. If you are a complete newbie to steampunk, this book could serve as an introduction to the genre that you may find decent.
Recommended Age: 15 and up.
Language: Some. And fairly strong in the short bursts when it happens.
Violence: There is some violence, but it is described poorly.